Has the internet really been that bad for the music industry? Find out what we think in today’s article.
The internet has influenced all our lives; be it negatively or positively, it has had an undeniable impact. The music industry is no exception. This is where things get a bit haywire, so keep up.
There are many different opinions about the effect of the internet on the music industry. Some experts claim that the internet is revolutionizing the music industry, while others accuse the internet of destroying it. What are the facts, and what are the results on how the internet’s effects the music industry? That is precisely what we would like to find out.
“If video killed the radio star, then who slayed the music industry?”- Kabir Sehgal
The truth is that the music industry is in an anemic, death-like state. Gone are the days of the anticipation of a newly released album. Why buy something that you can get for free? And why produce something good if you probably aren’t going to get paid for it? This vicious circle is ongoing with the internet messing around with basic economics.
You deliver a service, and the consumer pays for the service. The more you pay, the higher the quality of your service, and the more money a service provider makes, the more motivated they are to produce something better for more money.
This worked for ages, but now artist and consumer stand in a face off, while businessmen and producers poke and prod at each party trying to get someone to move. Who is responsible for this sorry state? There are three commonly acknowledged culprits, and we’ll see that no one is completely innocent.
The Three Culprits
Leakers will tell you that they’re just trying to give freely, but really, they are modern day pirates. It started with CD’s. People working in CD-manufacturing companies stole the newly released CD’s, re-produced them, and sold them for a fraction of the price, making a tidy profit for themselves, with no royalties paid to the artist.
The internet just made their job easier. All you have to do is leak the music onto the world wide web, and the album that some artist worked on for months, is out there for everyone to get for free.
Their principal crime? They were too slow. While leakers kept up with the times and used modern technologies to rob them blind, record labels crawled at a pace so slow it is literally criminal. True, they sued the main culprits and won, but the internet is a shadowy world of anonymity and secrecy. It was like trying to draw water with a sieve.
They should’ve started at the CD manufacturing plants by imposing strict rules to prevent leakers. But what was the harm? Right?
They now sell a single at 99 cents instead of an album at $20. That’s the harm. They also should’ve been on the ball when the internet exploded onto the scene. Stop the culprits in their tracks and come up with a way to meet the needs of an ever-growing market instead of clinging to the past.
Aren’t they the victims? Only because they put themselves in that position. When reading a contract, they need to be aware. Record labels are out for a profit, not to babysit an ignorant and naïve musician. Shady record deals have been the death of too many talented musicians.
Some record labels don’t include online sales in the contract, so while their single amasses listeners online, the musician receives no royalty payments. They also might not include international royalty payments, so while the musician world famous and selling out stadiums across the world, they are not getting paid.
Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance comes at the cost of a hefty income.
Why on earth would you pay money for something that you could get for free? We see famous musicians displayed on magazine covers, flaunting their wealth for the world to see; musicians pouring champagne worth thousands of dollars down the drain in their music videos, and watch them dressed to the nines almost every single day.
Are we really hurting them? Do they really miss those few cents when their bank statement reads like the income of a first-world country? No, not really.
But the music industry isn’t just made out of these big names. The music industry is made out of struggling artists who can’t put food on the table. Various teams who put together artwork for the album, people who make the music better for your ears.
Should these people also be cheated out of their incomes? We often see the glamorous side of the music industry, but it is a working, breathing machine made from hundreds of teams. We also don’t see the artists themselves sweating for hours in recording studios to produce their sound. Is it fair to steal their work?
In my opinion, it works both ways.
I held off buying Spotify for years, because I hated the idea of cherry picking songs and leaving albums behind. Plus, there’s the whole loyalty payment argument. Artists receive practically nothing unless a song is played thousands of time.
However, these tools like Spotify that were born from the internet, have given me access to so much new music that I would otherwise have never heard. I’m not lining anyones pockets by listening to them through Spotify, but I am a frequent concert goer. Touring is the main way that musicians make money these days, and the internet gives artists an amazing platform to get their music out there and advertise.
The internet has changed the way we listen to music, and the way that musicians promote it. But, the industry has always evolved and had to change as new media has become popular (think about how the cassette changed things with its ability to record). The internet is just the next step in evolution, and the music industry will always thrive in whatever form it takes.
But, it’s essential that we put money back into the industry. Be it in the form of buying albums, songs, merchandise, or concert tickets. Downloading music for free is all good, as long as you’re putting something back into the industry at some point. Artists need to pay the bills too.
Musicians and record labels should work together to promote the rights of an artist. An artist should not be asked to give their music for free on streaming websites, and they should be able to keep the rights to their work.
If musicians were treated as entrepreneurs, the music industry would be rejuvenated by the fact that the artists are responsible for their work. People need to stand together and stop accepting the free option. In the long run, this is only hurting us because, if the music industry dies, there will be nothing left and we will have to start over.
Scary thought, isn’t it? We don’t need pirates in the 21st century, but we do need music.
At the end of the day, it is a slow process to recovery. We all appreciate the music industry, but we’re contributing to its downfall. Is the internet killing the music industry?
No, the dangers were already there, if it were handled properly at the beginning, the music industry could have been flourishing. The internet isn’t killing the music industry, the music industry is killing the music industry.
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